High water levels at Lagarfljót river

22.11.2022 - 15:09
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Rúnar Snær Reynisson - RÚV
Despite a recent decrease in rainfalls in the Eastern parts of Iceland, rivers and streams in Austurland and Austfjörður still carry a lot of water. Egilsstaðir airport has been flooded.

Lagarfljót’s water level: quinquennial high
Lagarfljót river’s current water level is at a quinquennial high. The hydropower plant Lagarfossvirkjun has its valves opened to drain the river.

On Sunday, the water level at the bridge Lagarfljótsbrú rose to 22,38 m above sea level and flooded parts of Egilsstaður Airport. However, no operations have been affected, confirms airport operator ISAVIA.

The airfield's equipment, such as approaching lights, was designed to withstand floods of that extent. The water level at Egilsstaðir Airport was just below that of the runway’s end, the lowest part of the area. Meanwhile, water levels have dropped.

All floodgates at hydropower plant open
The hydropower plant Lagarfossvirkjun has opened all four floodgates. According to operator Orkusalan, the current flow is about 665 cubic metres of water per second.

Both power plant engines are running; one is spinning 50, the second 150 cubic metres of water per second. Plant manager (stöðvarstjóri) Pálmi Hreinn Sigurðsson says it was fortunate the larger machine is back in operation: Until recently, it has been in repair for four months. Had it not been back in use, higher river levels would have been expected.

Water levels not meeting the extent of the 2002 floods
Lagarfljót's water levels have just been short of meeting the magnitude of the floods 20 years ago. In 2002, the water level at Lagarfljótsbrú rose to 22,98 m, thus flooding the road between Egilsstaður Airport’s runway and terminal. Last weekend, the water level was 60 cm below that.

Currently, slopes at Seyðisfjörður and Eskifjörður are being closely monitored with an eye to landslides. A slight movement has been observed in Búðahryggur, near a large landslide on Seyðisfjörður, and in Þófa.

However, none is said to require actions to be taken. Icelandic Met Offices' (Veðurstofa Íslands) weather forecast for the next days predicts light rain in the Southeast.

Veðurstofa Íslands: forecast (22.11.22)

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